During a White House news conference on Friday, President Obama reiterated his commitment to "capturing or killing" Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"I think capturing or killing [them] would be extremely important to our national security," he said. "Doesn't solve all our problems, but it remains a high priority of this administration."

The president faced tough questions from reporters, who asked whether he was truly running a "smarter war on terror than the Bush administration" if he "doesn't seem to know" where bin Laden is.

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Obama defended his tactics.

"One of the things that we've been very successful at over the last two years is to ramp up the pressure on al Qaeda and their key leaders," he said. "And as a consequence, they have been holed up in ways that have made it harder for them to operate. And part of what's happened is, is bin Laden has gone deep underground. Even Zawahiri, who is more often out there, has been much more cautious."

He emphasized that the "best minds, the best intelligence officers, the best special forces" will be working on the problem for the duration of his time in office.

At the same time, he urged Americans to understand the "reality of today's world — that there are going to be threats out there."

"I think that in this day and age there are going to be — there is always going to be the potential for an individual or a small group of individuals, if they are willing to die, to kill other people. Some of them are going to be very well organized and some of them are going to be random," he said.

"And we are going to have this problem [terrorist threats] out there for a long time to come, but it doesn't have to completely distort us and it doesn't have to dominate our foreign policy. What we can do is to constantly fight against it. And I think, ultimately, we are going to be able to stamp it out. But it's going to take some time."